Cultivate New Readers by Donating Your Books to Worthy Causes

Jordan Dane

I accumulate books and they breed on their own when the lights are out. Organizer guru, Marie Kondo, would not approve. During my last move, I downsized. Maintaining a personal library is not practical. With all the guests that come to visit on a regular basis, it is more fun to have an extra bedroom.

That got me thinking about what I could do with the good books I have already read. I have a special collection of signed books I will never donate or share (because sharing can be a one-way trip). These are books I treasure. (They are often written by author friends. Super special.)

For a number of years, before I sold and published, I collected debut books in hardback print. Those books served as inspiration for me that my dream to become a published author could happen. But no matter how much I wanted to keep all the books I’ve read, I also see good reason to donate them to other avid readers. Sharing the joy of reading is a special bond we readers share.

Off the top, there are many great places to donate books to appreciative organizations. Your kids’ school, the local library, homeless shelters, Goodwill, nursing homes (especially if you have audio books or large print reading material). My last donation was to a home for pregnant teen girls where I dropped off young adult novels, my books and other YA author friends’ stories.

Something that I’ve wanted to start in my neighborhood is a Little Free Library. I first saw these when I lived in Wisconsin many years ago, but they are a great way to develop a sense of community and support literacy. Many cities and states have these programs and the little libraries can be constructed in very clever ways. Here is a cute one in Arizona. People leave books for free, readers can take a book and leave one when they are done, for someone else to enjoy. Everything is on the honor system. I love this idea. Here is a LINK on how you can start your own Little Free Library.

Below are some book donation ideas that you might not have thought of before:

1.) Donate Books to Deployed Soldiers – An organization like OPERATION GRATITUDE offers many ways to donate books and more. They serve military families, veterans, first-responders, deployed soldiers, wounded heroes and caregivers, & recruit graduates. Help them fill care packages with your book donations.

OPERATION PAPERBACK takes book donations for troops. (Make a money donation or contribute books.) Operation Paperback started in 1999 and has shipped 2.9 million books to over 30 locations overseas. They have 19,000+ volunteers in all 50 states, who partner with a network of shippers and send 15,000+ books per month.

There might also be local groups where you live that send books to deployed military. Tampa Bay has Books for Troops.

A special program – the USO’s United Through Reading program, helps deployed soldiers read bedtime stories to their kids.

NOTE: Many of these programs have criteria for book donations and some have suggestions for genre and/or specific book titles they are requesting. Be sure to read donation guidelines before you send books.

2.) Think Dogs & Kids – This is a great & creative idea that merges rescue animals and literacy. Some animal shelters are matching up canines, kids and books in an innovative way. At the Humane Society of Missouri, the Shelter Buddies Reading Program gets kids ages 6 to 15 to read to shelter dogs, as a way of getting the dogs ready for adoption.

Another program, Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D) connects children who have difficulties reading with therapy dogs, under the notion that children will find reading to an animal less intimidating. In Connecticut, you can donate books to support the “Read with Me” program out of Pet Partners, a local dog therapy organization that pairs therapy dogs with struggling readers. Talk about a WIN-WIN.

3.) Local Book Lovers – Do you have a local program that needs books? In Los Angeles, for example, there’s a service called Re-Book It. This is a free service hosted by The Last Bookstore. They offer free pickup throughout Los Angeles county, and your donations could benefit libraries, schools, at-risk children, and hospitals. The Last Bookstore does all the work and your books find a new home.

If you don’t have a great organization like this in your area, you may find other groups that do similar work. For example, a book drive through a local church, library, school, or volunteer organization could be a good resource to relocate your books.

Organizations like Better World Books has drop boxes across the country. Enter your zip code into their site search to see if they have a drop box near you.

This time of year, with the tax season looming, I think about ways to make a difference and charitable donations. I hope this post gives you ideas or inspires you to start something new in your area. Happy 2020!

For Discussion:

1.) Do you have good suggestions for places to donate books?

2.) Share a story about one of your book donations. (This could be for your books or for other authors.)


The Curse She Wore by Jordan Dane Coming Feb 10, 2020.

ON PRESALE at Amazon (in ebook and print)

They had Death in common…

Homeless on the streets of New Orleans, Trinity LeDoux has nothing to lose when she hands a cursed vintage necklace to a wealthy, yet reclusive clairvoyant.

During a rare public appearance, Hayden Quinn is unexpectedly recruited into Trinity’s perilous mission–a journey back through time to the exact moment of death for two very different victims.

Hayden and Trinity, two broken people with nothing but death in common, pursue the dangerous quest to stop a murderer from emulating the grisly works of a notorious serial killer. But trespassing on Fate’s turf comes with a price–one they never see coming.

GOODREADS GIVEAWAY for The Curse She Wore – Enter for a chance to win.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

21 thoughts on “Cultivate New Readers by Donating Your Books to Worthy Causes

  1. What a great blog! And it gave me an idea for a blog post! I find your posts often spark an idea for a blog. Thank you!
    And check out the link on your book. It takes you to one of JSB’s blog posts instead of your book.

  2. Great post, Jordan!

    In my town, we have a hospice facility that is owned by the hospital system I’ve worked for the last fifteen years. That would be a great place to donate books. If the patient is too sick to read, families and caregivers could read to them.

  3. The local library and its booksales are always a worthy cause. When my mom was alive and I spent way too much time in hospital waiting rooms, I was also a magazine fairy. The day after her procedures, I’d drop by on the way to my mom’s room and leave a pile of magazines that weren’t five years old.

    • Another great idea. Very thoughtful. I’ve spent hours in a hospital waiting room & distractions would be appreciated. Thanks for the ideas, Marilynn.

  4. Great topic, Jordan.

    When fire wiped out most of Paradise, California, the library was completely destroyed. Debbie Burke wrote about this in a KillZone blog post
    Debbie described how authors could help by donating copies of their books to the new Paradise Library. I was delighted to join the other authors who took part in this restoration.

    I also donated copies of my book to a program called bookmates4inmates that receives and distributes books to women who are incarcerated.

    We have several “Little Free Libraries” in Memphis. and I’ve dropped copies off in them. One was in a doctor’s waiting room in a breast cancer clinic.

  5. My father collected books. When he died there were between 6,000 and 10,000 books in the house. Some went to friends. Some more valuable ones went to the bookseller. When my was ready to move out of the house about 7,000 books remained. We had a book sale with help from the local Reading is Fundamental chapter. It was my brother who came up with the idea of selling books by the pound. At fifty cents a pound, paperbacks were about a dollar, hardbacks less than five. The most expensive book was a plat book. It was over $8. In the end we split $4,000 with RIF.

    • Books by the pound. Wow. Fun idea. I love that your dad had that many books over his lifetime.

      It must’ve been a special bond between you, for him to have a son who became an author, and for you to have a father who loved books so much. Thank you, Alan.

  6. For new books there are always charitable auctions looking for items. They can earn quite a tidy sum on a few autographed paperbacks.

  7. Great ideas, Jordan. Wonderful suggestions from the comments, too. Our local veterans center receives the books we can bear to part with but the basement’s still full!

    When a dear friend underwent cancer treatment, several nurses in the infusion room were incredibly kind to her. To say thanks, I gave them copies of my books. I hope they serve as a small distraction to patients and worried family, sitting for long hours of chemo and transfusions.

    Preordered your new book and am eagerly awaiting its release. Congratulations, my friend!

    • Great idea, Debbie. Hard working nurses are very worthy of a thoughtful gift.

      I love your books. They would always make a unique gift. How many people can say, “I wrote it.”

      Thanks for the pre-order. You made my day.

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